Japanese  
  Home  |  Top News  |  Most Popular  |  Video  |  Multimedia  |  News Feeds  |  Feedback
  Medicine  |  Nature & Earth  |  Biology  |  Technology & Engineering  |  Space & Planetary  |  Psychology  |  Physics & Chemistry  |  Economics  |  Archaeology
Top > Medicine, Health Care > Higher Levels of Social Activity… >
Higher Levels of Social Activity Decrease the Risk of Cognitive Decline

Published: April 26, 2011.
By Rush University Medical Center
http://www.rush.edu

If you want to keep your brain healthy, it turns out that visiting friends, attending parties, and even going to church might be just as good for you as crossword puzzles.

According to research conducted at Rush University Medical Center, frequent social activity may help to prevent or delay cognitive decline in old age. The study has just been posted online in the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society.

The researchers were especially careful in their analysis to try to rule out the possibility that cognitive decline precedes, or causes, social isolation, and not the reverse.

"It's logical to think that when someone's cognitive abilities break down, they are less likely to go out and meet friends, enjoy a camping trip, or participate in community clubs. If memory and thinking capabilities fail, socializing becomes difficult," said lead researcher Bryan James, PhD, postdoctoral fellow in the epidemiology of aging and dementia in the Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center. "But our findings suggest that social inactivity itself leads to cognitive impairments."

The study included 1,138 older adults with a mean age of 80 who are participating in the Rush Memory and Aging Project, an ongoing longitudinal study of common chronic conditions of aging. They each underwent yearly evaluations that included a medical history and neuropsychological tests.

Social activity was measured based on a questionnaire that asked participants whether, and how often, in the previous year they had engaged in activities that involve social interaction—for example, whether they went to restaurants, sporting events or the teletract (off-track betting) or played bingo; went on day trips or overnight trips; did volunteer work; visited relatives or friends; participated in groups such as the Knights of Columbus; or attended religious services.

Cognitive function was assessed using a battery of 19 tests for various types of memory (episodic, semantic and working memory), as well as perceptual speed and visuospatial ability.

At the start of the investigation, all participants were free of any signs of cognitive impairment. Over an average of five years, however, those who were more socially active showed reduced rates of cognitive decline. On average, those who had the highest levels of social activity (the 90th percentile) experienced only one quarter of the rate of cognitive decline experienced by the least socially active individuals. Other variables that might have accounted for the increase in cognitive decline—such as age, physical exercise, and health—were all ruled out in the analysis.

Why social activity plays a role in the development of cognitive problems is not clear. According to James, one possibility is that "social activity challenges older adults to participate in complex interpersonal exchanges, which could promote or main efficient neural networks in a case of 'use it or lose it.'"

Future research is needed to determine whether interventions aimed at increasing late-life social activity can play a part in delaying or preventing cognitive decline, James said.






Translate this page: Chinese French German Italian Japanese Korean Portuguese Russian Spanish


 
All comments are reviewed before being posted. We cannot accept messages that refer a product, or web site.If you are looking for a response to a question please use our another feedback page.
Related »

Cognitive 
4/15/13 
Preventing Cognitive Decline in Healthy Seniors
By Canadian Medical Association Journal
Cognitive training exercises — or mental exercise — may help prevent cognitive decline in healthy older adults, while evidence for the benefits of pharmacologic substances and exercise is weak, …
Cognitive 
7/25/14 
Experiences at Every Stage of Life Contribute to Cognitive Abilities in Old Age
By University of California - Davis Health System
Early life experiences, such as childhood socioeconomic status and literacy, may have greater influence on the risk of cognitive impairment late in life than such demographic characteristics as race …
Cognitive 
4/15/13 
No Evidence Drugs, Vitamins, Supplements Help Prevent Cognitive Decline in Healthy Older Adults
By St. Michael's Hospital
TORONTO, April 15, 2013—A review of published research has found no evidence that drugs, herbal products or vitamin supplements help prevent cognitive decline in healthy older adults. The …
Cognitive 
3/6/13 
People with MS-related Memory And Attention Problems Have Signs of Extensive Brain Damage
By American Academy of Neurology
MINNEAPOLIS – People with multiple sclerosis (MS) who have cognitive problems, or problems with memory, attention, and concentration, have more damage to areas of the brain involved in cognitive …
Function 
10/9/12 
Poorer Lung Health Leads to Age-related Changes in Brain Function
By Ohio State University
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Keeping the lungs healthy could be an important way to retain thinking functions that relate to problem-solving and processing speed in one's later years, new research …
Plasma 
1/18/11 
Lower Biomarker Levels, Less Education Associated with Greater Cognitive Decline
By JAMA and Archives Journals
Older adults without dementia and with lower levels in plasma of the biomarkers beta-amyloid 42/40 (protein fragments) had an increased rate of cognitive decline over a period of 9 …
Cognitive 
9/1/10 
Brain Exercises May Slow Cognitive Decline Initially, but Speed Up Dementia Later
By American Academy of Neurology
ST. PAUL, Minn. – New research shows that mentally stimulating activities such as crossword puzzles, reading and listening to the radio may, at first, slow the decline of thinking …
Reserve 
8/5/13 

Working-life Training And Maternity Spells Are Related to Slower Cognitive Decline in Later Life
By University of Luxembourg
Patients 
9/18/12 
'Brain Training' May Lessen Cognitive Impairments Associated with Coronary Bypass Surgery
By University of Montreal
Each year in Quebec, nearly 6000 people undergo coronary bypass surgery. Recovery is long and quality of life is greatly affected, in particular because most patients experience cognitive deficits …
More » 
 
ScienceNewsline  |  About  |  Privacy Policy  |  Feedback  |  Mobile  |  Japanese Edition
The selection and placement of stories are determined automatically by a computer program. All contents are copyright of their owners except U.S. Government works. U.S. Government works are assumed to be in the public domain unless otherwise noted. Everything else copyright ScienceNewsline.